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M y reasons for writing this Manual are, first, the pupils' need of such a 
book in our Trade High and Vocational Schools where industrial education pre- 
pares girls for wage-esrningo Secondly, the teacher's need fora handy refer- 
ence book. Third, the need for a practical guide for the home dressmaker who 
has never attended a trade school but must help balance the family budget by 
fashioning her own clothes yet wishes them to be both tasteful and stylish. 

Our feminine population is now, more than ever before, extremely conscious 
of clothes; and fashion, especially among the younger generation, tends to fol- 
low a favorite line of thought. Inspired by the magnificent results of our 
dress manufacturing in the United States, young girls constantly seek novel de- 
signs for xheir clothes which they quite often make themselves. The opportun- 
ities are prolific and no better time could be found to scatter the seeds of 
artistic originality in the minds of our wonderful youth, eager as they are to 
create and spread new ideas. 

An incentive to this are American textiles, whatever they may be, which are 
the pride of the land: cotton, woolen, silk, bemberg, rayon, nylon and orlon. 
This wide range of fabrics offers valuable and timely chances for real and pro- 
digious adventures in the field of designing women's clothes. 

The material assembled in this Manual comprises a valuable collection of 
notes which I gathered in New York and Paris for classroom purposes and also my 
class and outside lectures, both local and State-wide, delivered during my many 

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years of teaching art and costume designing in the Trade High School for 
Girls in Boston, Massachusetts. These years were the most rewarding and 
enjoyable of my life, and the thrill that I experienced when my pupils won 
prizes and honorable mentions, cannot be easily forgotten. My aim has 
been always to convey the importance of art in relation to fashion, and to 
create an interest in designing original and artistic gowns. To this #nd 
I have endeavored to emphasize the drastic changes in fashion such as the 
style of a skirt, the placing of the belt, the cut of the sleeve, striking 
variations in neckline - in fact, the entire silhouette. 

It is interesting to note that a radical substitution of lines in the 
general appearance of a frock is ^uite often influenced by a motive far 
removed from commercial reasons. For example, when Madame Paquin, the 
well-known French designer, created and launched the bateau neckline it 
was to replace the very low V-shape which had been causing concern and 
comment among the clergy, Supposedly immodest fashions had swept Paris, 
hence the world of styles (the designers) was severely criticized and 
condemned by the Archbishop of Paris, So Madame Paquin, a devout per- 
son, revolutionized "la mode" by her graceful neckline and fuller skirts. 
Indeed, there has always been a story of interest linked with fashion's 
changes and these brilliant, gleaming showings of new styles are quite 
often full of significance in their changes of silhouette, color and 

As wilibe seen, certain innovations are extremely artistic, varied 
and even dramatic; at other times they are merely conventional and occa- 
sionally th -y even seem quite ridiculous, such as the grotesque bustle 

of 1885, the hobble skirt of 1912, etc. Although it is often said that 
"there is nothing new under the sun", nevertheless, for our purposes we 


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may terra as original a finished product to which the creator has suc- 
ceeded in giving an appearance of novelty. Is it not rather extraor- 
dinary that when these new "High Lights of Style" are introduced to the 
public one can observe that the designers and the couturiers seldom con- 
tradict each other? The general trend of lines discloses itself clear- 
ly, yet clever fashion tricks often give the illusion of practically the 
sarae silhouette in the appearance of up-to-date models; there are occasion- 
ally two kinds of silhouette. 

"La Mode", like all works of Art, may be analyzed in the realm of de- 
sign and in the realm of ideas. Colors are frequently inspired by var- 
ious current events, as for example: the vivid coloring of 1925 following 
the great Florida real estate boom, and the popularity of the new shade 
of stratosphere blue, a lustrous violet-blue tone prompted by tne ascen- 
sion of Mr. Picard in 1934. 

In the Spring of 1934 it was rumored in Paris that skirts were not 
to be so long* Manufacturers began to worry because, with so many 
shops closed and no shortage of material, fashions should be the best 
means of helping Industry during that period of depression* Of course, 
the low income of so many women had to be glorified, in a certain measure, 
by occasional alterations of style, but Industry needed to be considered. 
Therefore, the designers agreed to leave the length of the skirt as it 
was, giving their attention to the sleeve, the waistline, and many other 

Various anecdotes concerning the remarkable evolution of feminine 
costume and the seasons for the ingenuity displayed by the makers of 
fashion, show the importance women's dress plays in our every day life* 

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The radical changes of style such as narrow to wide skirts, short or 
long sleeves, high or low waistline, high or low neckline, do not always 
occur at definite times of a period or a season, but when they do happen 
the gowns of the previous year cannot even be made over or worn success- 
fully. The gowns of 1944 - 1945 just could not fit in with the "New Look" 
frocks of the great French designer, Christian Dier. Therefore, a new 
wardrobe for Madame and Mademoiselle was the keynote for stylish and up-to- 
date American women; whatever might have been the reason for that great in- 
novation, which probably was inspired by business considerations, the "New 
Look" came and is still with us at present. It is rumored, however, in 
fashion circles that the boyish straight silhouette of 1922, may appear 
again before too long. 

Since the turn of the Century, these remarkable transitions have been 
extremely interesting especially during the Twenties when a complete evolu- 
tion occurred in the dressmaking trade. This period actually marked the 
termination of an unparalleled era of fashions and styles, and the rise of 
another which caused no end of comment in the fashion world. These 
loose chemise dresses were far from beautiful, but the materials and trim- 
mings were so rich and costly that it compensated, in a certain measure, 
for the odd lines of a style that women found difficult to fit becomingly 
to their particular figure. The beautiful feminine figure was practically 
hidden by those draperies hung from the shoulders, then the decorations and 
harmony of color were emphasized in various effects, especially around the 
hips where the Moyen Age belts we r © placed above the abbreviated full 
skirts of 1928-29. Then, in 1931 the very sudden change revolutionized 
the entire fashion world. These new creations that came from Paris 
were soon adopted and copied in New York. With the long skirt, the nat- 

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ur«l waistline, the set in sleeves, the tailormade effects of the neck- 
line, women found themselves compelled to replace their last year's ward- 

rcbe. But it was a great relief to see, once again, the bustline and 
curves beautifully emphasized in these exquisite modes that came from 
the best couturiers. All designers contributed to this drastic change 
in women's attire. However, the most noticeable change in the entire 
gown was in the skirt which was longer and wider; its pattern was so dif- 
ferent from the previous years. Decidedly, 1931 was a year of fullness 
on skirts, draperies, and diagonal effects on bodices. 

The sameness of styles on the main lines during the years of World 
War II was obvious in many aspects of the general mode. Nothing came 
from Paris, and here in the United States, the silhouette was frozen by 
the War Production Board with emphasis on the saving of materials. The 
width of the skirt was regulated and no manufacturer presented wider 
skirts than 60 inches, even the hem was abreviated to a mere 1 l/2 inch. 

The entire content of this Manual "LA MOOS. DESIGN , ftND SUITIBILITY. 
IN DRESS" is divided as follows* BOOK ONE: -Thie feminine Figure, Fundament- 
als of Costume Design, Applied Design, Textiles and Theory of Color; 
BOOK TWO: h Abridged History of Costume; BOOK THREE; Suitability of Dress, 
Method of Designing Up-to Date Feminine Clothing. 

In preparing my manuscript, my chief intention has been to present a 
useful piece of work rather than to attempt literary perfection. By 
its practicableness, expressed in simple language, I sincerely hope 
t'Aia. book will prove helpful to students in the many industrial schools 
of our country which follow the modern method of "Learning by doing". 


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MODES OF THE XIX CENTURY (1800 t« 1814) 









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XII FASHIONS (1871-1899) 89 

XIII FASHIONS (1900-1912) 110 

XIV FASHIONS (1912-1914) 126 

XV THE WAR ( 1914) , MODES 1914-1920 131 


XVII STYLES OF 1924 t» 1931 150 

XVIII 1931-1939 FASHIONS 164 

XIX STYLES, 1939 t» 1945 (WORLD WAR II) 176 










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a - An*ly«i« of the present fashion 

b - Effect, on Personality 

c - Main characteristic of Costume 

« - Measur wwt of Figure 

b - Types of Figure and Main Factors involved in relation to Personality 
c - Sketching the Model 
m - Line and Design 

b - Harmony, Balance and Sequence in good dressing 

c - Attraction: Vertical, Horizontal, or Oblique lines 


a - Meaning of Fashion 

b - Meaning of Style 

c - Main points of up-to-date fashions 

d - Textiles 


a - Tones in Vogue 

b - Influence of Color on Personality 


Study of Blonde and Brunette 



Psychology of Coler 


Origin of New Tones 


a - Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Dress 
b - Accessories in Relation to Line and Color of Dres*. 
c - Procedure In Original Costume Designing. 

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GOD in His infinite *isdem and kindness has chosen *»nsin to be the 
masterpiece of His creatien. 

Wemaa's body surpasses everything in the world in be* uty, char* aid 
grace. A man ence said, "There is ne such thing es a homely woman". 
Recently (February 1953), the well-knpwn designer, CHRISTIAN DIOR, ex- 
pressed the same statement - the manner of dress makes the difference. 

Through the years of civilization since Antiquity - especially 
since the emancipation of women - the feminine figure of fashion has 
changed contours considerably from time to time, and always with a marked 
deviation of silhouette. The natural f eminiao-f igure, however, remains 
practically the same as it was when wemea covered themselves with draper- 
ies and folds of material as Greek aad Roman ladies did *ith such perfect 
artistic effect. 

Of course, drastic changes of the silhouette have occurred constantly 
since the 14th Century when *omen discovered the beauty of the waist line 
and the corset was iaveated, but whatever the reason may be for the besom 
to be hidden or pushed upward, or for raising the waistline, or lowering 
it, the fashionable silhouette is quite a different matter from that of 





the feminine body which should be drawn with as little clothing as possible 
(simply attired or nude, as it is practiced in the Fine Art classes) 
emphasising every line and curve. 

The main factor in acquiring ability to draw the figure for fashion 
composition lies in the practice of rapid sketching from the model in 
various artistic positions. The standing, rather stiff figure, which is 
drawn from measurements, 

is used a great deal for the purpose 
of dressing the figure, but it is quite 
useless to entertain the false assump- 
tion that a well designed frock can 
possibly look as well on a lay figure 
as it would on the model posing in a 
graceful position. After all, art is 
based on certain laws, and the inter- 
pretation of these depends largely on 
the artist himself. In the field of 
fashion designing, one must search 
artistic and graceful positions for the 
living model on whom the stylish gown 
will be designed. 

Many designers in Paris and in New York ask their patron or customer 
to walk around the room and to sit down occasionally before they attempt 
to create suitable and artistic clothes for Milady. 

It is a great help to the student that the modern trend of fashion 
drawing tends to eliminate such unnecessary details as a finished drawing 









of feet, hands, or even features. In the drawing of a graceful figure 
with an up-to-date gown, a lovely head may possibly enhance the charm of 
the sketch, but a portrait is not indispensable to an artistic fashion 
design, the aim of the sketch being to show off the gown as the center of 

Measuring with your eye (generally the right one) is a comparatively 
easy habit to acquire, once the student has memorised the proportions of 
the human figure according to the Greek measurements, and with patience 
and practice, the future costume designer will be drawing the stylish 
figure quickly and accurately. 


In fashion magazines and newspaper illustrations, as in sketching 
from a model, the head is the unit of measurement. Proportions are, 
therefore, approximately as follows: 

Lengths: The full length of the stylish figure is eight times that 
of the head, except when sketching from life, in which case it is about 
seven and one-half heads. One head and one— half to the shoulder, two 
heads and two thirds to the natural waistline, three heads and three 
quarters to the hip line, five heads and nine sixteenths to the top of 
the knee, seven heads to the ankle. 

The elbow comes to the waistline. The forearm for the female is 
shorter than the upperarm. 

The width of shoulders is one and one-half head. 

Hips about one and one-half head and the same width as the shoulders. 

The head, which is oval in any position, is divided into four equal 
parts. The first part is from the top of the head to where the hair begins 
to grow. The second part is where the eyes are placed. The third is where 
the nose is, and the fourth part is the chin. 


The distance between the eyes is the same as the measurement of one 
eye. The base of the nose is the same width as or-_ eye. 

The mouth is placed one-third the distance from the base of the nose 
to the chin. The size of the mouth is about one and one— half that of the 

The ear is placed directly in line with the nose and is exactly the 
same length. The top of the ear is in direct line with the eyebrow. 








It is absolutely undeniable that for centuries French designers have taken 
the lead in the fashion world and still lead in all that is original, artistic 
and striking im this field. In recent years, however, American designers have 
attained remarkable success in designing and manufacturing women's clothes that 
are both stylish and beautiful* 

To the French, our node of life in relatxon to costume, which means the 
progress of civilixation, is of the greatest importance. Also, women*s acti- 
vlies, in relation to costume, have been a significant influence in the creat- 
ing of costumes for American women. 

In all dress designing, three major factors, each important in itself, but 
all closely related to each other, must be considered fundamental. They are: 

1. Art and design. 

2. Fashion and style. 

3. Yearly and seasonal change in style. 

Art and design : The relation of Art to costume-creating cannot be over- 
emphasized, as a basic factor in the designing of fashions. An elementary knowl- 
edge of drawing helps the student to express his ideas on paper in a clearer way 


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than in any other form of expression* Some designers prefer to use muslin or 
cambric to design and construct a model, but this method requires much more time« 
A number of rough sketches should be made before a decision can be reached; alter- 
ations of the contour, changes in color, etc., are more clearly indicated, and the 
final result is more satisfactory. In a few lines the designer expresses his idea 
of conception of the new fad he wishes to create* 

No work of Art can be executed by chance or accident, the laws of order, 
theory of color, rules of composition, must be obeyed in order to create a work 
of art, and the designing of fashions, as it is done today, may be considered very 
artistic. All artists in the designing field, aim to attain beauty *hich is the 
main quality of all art productions. 

With today's abundant variety of materials and colors at her disposal, the 
designer has ample choice. But it is important to warn that this very variety 
increases as never before the problem of presenting really novel ideas. We must 
remember, besides, that purely eccentric modes are not truly novel because they 
rarely obey the laws of order, color harmony and composition, hence they succeed 
in being only bizarre and their vogue is very short-lived indeed. Invariably they 
quickly give place to more artistic fashions. 

Dress design is so closely linked with Art development that from earliest 
Egyptian times to the present, in all civilized countries, the costume of a statue, 
or in a frieze or painting has been a factor in both dating the object and deter- 
mining its nationality* In other words, each generation, each century and each 
racial group stamps its personality upon dress. To this day, the current mode of 
living and women's activities have gxeatly influenced the French in designing their 
creations. For instance, when designing for Americans they take into considera- 
the American es prit . 

Fashion and Style: These tw© terms are so often confused that their respective 
significance must be clearly understood. 

What we generally call "fashion" is nearly always a fleeting caprice often 


governed by the various tastes of the day. For example: the Military effects 
inspired by the war and imitated by the masses. Fashion is what the French call 
"la mode". It changes frequently, and its deviations are by way of color, mater- 
ial, or adjuncts, "La mode a ses revolutions comme les Empires" (Fashion has its 
revolutions as Empires have) wrote the editor of a fashion magazine of 1834. 

Styl e, however, remains tne main characteristic of costume, aiso by our mode 
of lying. Style is often called "line". It preserves thax remarkable quality 
which is of such great importance in the feminine attire. A very stylish gown 
may be rather plain, and onis type of dress is not so much affected by its detail 
and adjuncts* 

Paris remains the dictator of style, but American designers do not always copy 
one Frencn creations exactly as they slavishly did before World War I. They now 
take liberties in the choice of colors, materials, details and trimmings. In fact, 
American couturiers have become experts in obtaining marked originality by their 
artistic combinations. Their ready-made feminine garments become works of art; 
they are often exquisite in their arrangement of adjuncts, which may be considered 
of great importance to the trade. 

Y early an d seasonal change in Stylet The main characteristic of a gown is its 
relation to the current style or fashion launched by the great designers of Paris 
or New York. After close analysis of dress and with the study of lines since 
the Egyptian period, we now discover (195$) that radical changes of style seldom 
occur oftener than once a year and the change is on one or two, only, of the four 
main points of a gown; that is, the neckline, the waistline, the cut of the sleeve, 
the general style of the skirt. Although details may vary considerably, it is 
the dominant lines of the gown that date it - it is stylish, or it is not. 

In regard to color there is, curiously enough, at the beginning of each season 
a marked tendency toward unusual colors. Those shades that have new names, how- 
ever, may be very similar to, or only slightly different from, some well-known 
color worn the previous season. There is always a reason for the popularity of 


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certain shades ana rery oftea we shall find this reassn in some current 
•r immediately recent, incident sr big event. « 

In the United States, during the Second Wsrld War (1939-1945). ns 
radisal change took place. For the first time in her fashion history 
the Government intervened through the War Production Board, which "froie" 
the silhouette by restriction on material even tp regulating the width 
of the «kirt and the hem. Now that radical changes in fashion occur 
again yearly, the designing of women's clothes becomesmore difficult and 
complex. The full significance of radical changes is never fully 
grasped at the beginning of seasons, but later, and when they have been 
launched by the great couturiers and observed by the masses, "la mode" 
does not take long in being gradually adopted. Dior, the French de- 
signer of his "New Look" is a vivid example of this. When he intro- 
duced his "New Look", everyone lengthened her. skirt ft he short one having 
become decidedly passee. 

A factor governing seasonal and yearly change in dress, is women's 
increasing participation in the many fields of modern activity necessitat- 
ing types of garments adapted to these demands. With the disappearance 
of the class sy«tem of nobility in various countries and with the increas- 
ing emphasis on comfort in dress resulting from the remarkable industrial 
development, dressmaking as a trade has practically vanished. Copying 
imported models (both classic and casual) which are manufactured to be 
sold at lower prices is done extensively, (195£). 

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Beauty involves a certain harmony of relation between the mind and 
the surroundings. Taste cannot be taught like other subjects, but 
under artistic environment it can grow and develop until one can enjoy 
a perception of beauty and distinguish between order, organization, 
chaos and ugliness. 

The thrill of beauty is generally caused by emotion at certain 
times of life. One who is trained in artistic judgment will enjoy this 
emotion and thrj.ll more fully and oftener. A trained observer does not 
need this constant element of novelty, while an untrained observer is 
constantly in search of new elements. 

The meaning of order and organization is manifold. Too much 
organization becomes monotonous; a certain amount of interest and 
contrast is absolutely necessary to an artistic arrangement, therefore 
an elementary knowledge of the history of ornament is not only important, 
but it is interesting and inspiring, since so many of our modern fabric 
designs have been greatly influenced by historic ornaments. One may 
recall the various motifs inspired by Egyptian Art during the excavation 
that went on in 1925. Everything was"King Tut." The fabrics in the 
designs reflected the strong influence that lasted about two or three 
years. Even costume jewelry was copied and manufactured in that special 
oriental style. 

Fabrics for dress and garment manufacturing are a factor of upper- 
most importance in the designing of gowns. These silks, cottons, linens, 











or rayons may be designed in such a manner as to have oheir ornaments 
woven as part of the texture stamped or embroidered on the material 
itself. In every case, however, the principles of order are involved, 
harmony, balance and sequence enter into every part of the design 
composition. That is, every good arrangement must possess these three 
elements of Design. 

The meaning of Design is thus expressed by Dr. Denman Ross of 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts: "By Design, I mean order 
in human feeling and thought, and in many varied activities by which 
the feeling of that thought is expressed. By order, I mean particularly 
three things, Harmony, Sequence, and Balance. Of these three principles 
of order, the first and foremost, the most far-reaching and comprehensive, 
is the principle of Harmony. We have Harmony in all Balance and we have 
it also in all Rhythm." 

it Design is a combination of tone, measure and shape combined to 
give harmony and balance. The Principles of order are: Harmony, 
Balance, and Sequence. Harmony means uniformity in all parts and 
elements of a composition. Balance means uniformity in ^p position, . 
Balance may be obvious or occult. Sequence means uniformity in change 
or movement. \\ 

Designs are composed of units; those figures whatever form they 
may represent, are repeated in symmetrical and harmonious arrangements 
to cover a given space. We have repetition, alternation, variety and 
contrast, in every good composition. The Unit may be a conventionalized 
flower or plant; it may be a combination of dots, lines, squares, or 
circles, and flowers, but in any case this Unit must be placed with the 



idea in mind that it either repeats itself alone or in combination with 

other units. Repetition nay be considered the most important factor 

of textile ornamentation. The main characteristic of a design must be 

csrefully planned before the entire given space is covered. The trend 

of fashion is to be considered, also the size of the entire decorative 

motif. It must not be monotonous, hence the reason for a sequence of 

alternation and gradation. Other forms subordinated to the main unit 

often relieves this monotony. But tnese designs should not decrease 

significance of the main unit in order that the entire surface possess 

the quality of "fitness" which must enter into every Dhase of this decor- 

Designs are nearly always symbolic, even though the realization of 
this matter seldom impresses the great majority of people. Designs may 
be entire copies of historic Units, to express a certain current event, o 
they may be composed of certain forms, that convey definite messages and 
many ©f our mortem designs are full of significance. 

In considering these Ancient ornaments, we realize that practically 
all the various races of the world have attempted to draw or paint, no 
matter how primitive these people were. But, as they progressed in 
civilization their designs became more and more harmonious in line and 
color often copied or inspired from nature. T.;eir religious feelings 
prompted these tribes to design motifs that were nearly always symbols 
of their different beliefs: for intance - in Egyptian art, the Ringed 
Disk, emblem of the sun, etc. However, even tne most savage ornaments 
have charm and beauty in their various arrangements. 

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Chapter four 








The Art of the Egyptians was purely symbolic and entirely based 
on their favorite flowers - the Papyrus and the Lotus, which they 
conventionalized artistically£ollowing, however, the rules of their 
geometrical and orderly lines. 

These exquisite forms conveyed their ideas and messages which 
never failed to be understood. It may be said that the Lotus, however, 

is found more frequently in the de- 
coration of the Egyptians than any 
other form. That lovely flower 
that grows on the banks of the Nile, 
is a kind of plant similar to our 
pond lilies, but the color differs 
considerably. It is a vivid purple 
with a deep orange centre. The 
importance of that plant may be 
easily conceived since it is con- 
sidered sacred and offered to the 
Gods in worshio. 



The Egyptians also used the Papyrus plant in their symbolic 
decorative motifs, but not so extremely, however, as they did the Lotus. 
A kind of paper on which they wrote their sacred legends, was made from it. 

Another symbolic figure very much in use by the Egyptians was the 
Scarabaeus, as an emblem of evolution and advancement. That slow develop- 
ing beetle in their designs, full of mysterious charm, is associated 
with the rising Sun exemplifying the successful growth of nature. 

The Art of Assyria resembles the style of the Egyptians, but it 
seems to have deteriorated rather than progressed in perfection of lines 
and beauty. 

At the end of the 4th Century, B.C. an attempt to use natural 
forms instead of conventionalized ones in their general composition gave 
the Assyrian Ornament an inferior representation. Their ornaments were 
not based entirely on any natural figure. They used the pineapple and 
sometimes borrowed the Egyptian Lotus. But in the general conception of 
their Art the Assyrians failed to express themselves as the Egyptians did. 
Throughout their compositions, the Assyrians obviously lacked artistic 
rendering of their figures and motifs; they may have tried to express cer- 
tain qualities which they failed to do because of a lack of refinement 
in their execution. In the character of their Art they never attained 
the high standard of the Egyptian artistic performance. 



In the real* of decoratiye design as in their iress and architecture, 
the Greeks attained such a high degree of perfection that no nation has 
succeeded in surpassing their artistic achievement. Quite surprisingly, 
however, the Greek ornament, though beautiful, has no symbolic meaning, 
but this fact does not seem to interfere with the beauty of the Greek's 
exquisite creations, where symmetry is obvious in every part of their com- 
positions. There is that excellent gradation of ihape and measure with 
the rectangle and its subdivision as the base of their prtductions. The 
reason for this lack of symbolism may be caused by different religieus 
feelings from that of the Egyption people who were more superstit iuue. 

But the style of many Greek metifs emphasize Egyptian influence though 
developed in an entirely different manner. The Greek quality of obser- 
vation joined to a refined mind, were instrumental in observing more 
strictly the laws of nature, in new forms of conventionalized leaves and 

The design.^painted on Greek vases exemplify admirably their attention 
in minute details following their established laws of harmony of shape and 
measure. It is interesting to compare the Greek and Egyptian ornament, 

such as the Scroll (symbol of the Nile 
^ River in the Egyptian hieroglyphics) and 

the Greek Lily, suggestive of the Lotus 
Flower, even the rosette is of Egyptian 
origin. However, the most popular motif 
is the AtAHtkv* .hich was used profusely. 
The artists of the Renaissance considered 
thit lovely group of leaves, which is seen 
in their compositions, as a perfect ar- 
rangement. Even today, artisans are 
inspired by these forms. 


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The type of decoration used by the Romans, in the various parts of 
their edifices and decorations varied considerably frora that of the 
Greeks, their art appeared as if it were entirely for self-glory. 

We derive the major part of our information about Roman forms from 
the excavated city of Pompeii, hence the reason this style is often called 
Pompeian. Their whole system of decoration seems to have been based 
from very few motifs and figures. It may be said also that many of 

these compositions now are considered rather vulgar. However, the 
execution of these designs was so exquisite and so perfectly rendered 
that they are extremely pleasing to the eye. Very few printed orna- 
ments are to be seen, and these are really the same as those in Pompeii. 
There is no originality in the coloring and most forms are copies of Greek 

The most used motif in the Roman composition is the scrall, group- 
ing together leaf after leaf of the Acanthus plant *hich the Greek had 
used with more artistic skill. In their arrangement of this particu- 
lar design, the Roman exaggerated a great deal from their desire to create 
a feeling of admiration. This pattern of the Acanthus leaf is so 
easily reproduced that modern designers have used it profusely. 




8 • 




Chinese Art may be considered, with reason, to be about the only one 
really original in its conception. Of great antiquity this remarkable 
nation developed her art without the influence of other nationb' forms. 
The Chinese, perfectly pleased with their accomplishment, did not pro- 
gress as other nations did, but the development of their ornament pos- 
sesses the main characteristics of good design, nevertheless. Their 
natural gift for harmony reveals the same quality shown in every period 
of their art development. In fact, the Chinese seem to be behind in 
the progress of new forms. However, their ornaments are extremely de- 
corative and exemplify their natural gift for harmony of lines and color, 
even when the lack of a knowledge of the theory of design seems so ob- 
vious in the many details. It may be also added that their concern 
about the observation of natural laws of radiation shows a high degree 
of natural instinct. 

The Chinese loved to turn into design everything and anything they 
selected for their decoration; for instance: sea shells, rocks, clouds, 
the sea, etc. However, there are certain forms which used as a unit 
were often repeated - the dragon is one of these, even the centuries 
have not altered its hideous form which, as we know, is one of their 



As for the Art of the Japanese, it is obvious that it was borrowed 
from Chinese compositions. However, the chief concern of the Japanese 
was their aim to imitate nature which they studied carefully, thus giv- 
ing them the undisputed ability to create charming new forms. 

Their general progress in Art is remarkable, but it can easily be 
explained because of a certain habit of decorating even the most common 
object with carvings of designs; this helped considerably in developing 
their natural artistic gift 

Even today (1954), Japanese art is often reproduced. The beauty 
of design in scrolls executed centuries ago has, like Chinese art, de- 
lightful arrangements of color harmony. There is variety in the realm 
of design and ideas in all Japanese compositions. 

Boston Art Museum possesses a valuable collection of Japanese art, 
due to the efforts of three men (Morse, Fenollosa, and Bigelow) who spent 
many years in Japan, Discovering the high standard of Art in the 
country, these men imported (1882) a large uuantity of various pieces of 
work, such as wonderful scrolls, screens, and ceramics. 

The Japanese Art exhibition of November and December, 1953 ,( initiated, 
by-John D. Rockefeller, 3rd) , attracted visitors from all parts of the 
country, although it had been seen in Washngtoa, New York, Chicago, and 
Seattle,, before it came to Boston. 


1 1 


Chapter five 









The type of decoration known as the Romanesque style was really 
brought about by an alteration of the Reman fcrrrs which gave place to 

entirely new shapes. 
•y The necessity of these races to 

practice a rather strict economy in 
their various buildings and in their 
art in general directed the develop- 
ment of their ornament, which was a 
£ slow but radical change. I* fact, 

the complete system of Romanesque 
ornament was strongly influenced by 
the church. Even the art of the 
builders was inspired by the religious 
orders of that period. Romanesque Art, distincly religious, influenced 
civilization nr.d culture in large measure. 





The great majority of Designs of that period were symbolic in 
character. Despite the fact that Romanesque ornament seemed to have 
followed the influence of Persia and Assyria, Byzantine Art developed in 
an entirely different form, new, beautiful, and with remarkable original 
harmony of lines. The period of transition between the Romanesque and 
the Byzantine ornament, however, caused confusion resulting in a certain 
difficulty in their respective classification. 

The transition between the Greek and Roman periods was more sudden, 

hence, the practically easy manner 
of distinguishing these two previous 
periods, as compared with the 
Romanesque and Byzantine periods. 
In fact, it is sometimes almost 
impossible to distinguish these 
two ornaments, although the 
Byzantine ornament may be considered 
with reason to be more finished and 
in a way more beautiful. It had 
developed artistically though slowly and one only has to study the entire 
decorative motifs of the great church of St. Sophia in Istanbul 
(Constantinople), built by Emperor Justinian in the year 532 A.D., to 
realize the exquisite decoration of scrolls and conventionalized Acanthus 
leaves which exemplify vividly the enormous difference from any previous 
forms, but a very beautiful design is shown here of conventionalized 
leaf forms with a marked tendency toward the much-used scroll. 



■ 1 


The new conditions caused by religious and political changes in 
Western Europe influenced Gothic art in large measure. It suc- 

ceeded the Romanesnue period and grew rapidly in various original 
forms, having developed differently from the Classic art because, 
being a Christian art, it naturally varied from pagan art. 

Gothic ornament is rather complex and it is too long to analyze 
the periods that characterize the many motifs and details that one 
finds ir the beautifuj cathedrals and churches, *here these lovely 
forms *ere inserted. For example: the Ball-Flower ornament consist- 
ing of floral designs conventionalized, beautifully carved, as was 
also the head of a prominent personality wr-jich often adorns the 
dripstone of a Gothic edifice. 

The most perfect Gothic ornament is considered to be the early 
English style. Though beautiful, Gothic art developed different- 
ly in France, and there are more examples of those exquisite farms 
for us to admire, as so many cathedrals and churches are still left 
fcxxxxxiBxadxiixe (although approximately 5,000 were destroyed during 
World 7/ar II) in spite of numerous destructive wars that have been 
waged in France. In Germany, Gothic Art was copied from France. 


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In the realm of Renaissance decorative designs, one must begin by 
tracing its progress from Italy throughout Europe. 

Renaissance Art may have, in a certain measure, taken its inspira- 
tion from the art of antiquity, but the artists of that period were 
really innovators who were somewhat influenced by the Greco-Roman motifs. 
Animated by an entirely different spirit from that of the antiquity, the 
ten centuries of Christianity left its stamp, and the spirit of the 
Renaissance artist contributed to the complete change of form with really 
no close imitation of past periods. The first period may be described 
ns a combination of Middle Age form with those of antiquity. 

The secular spirit that prevailed influenced the new forms and for 
the first time since the fall of the Empire, civil designs were more im- 
portant than religious ones. The value of the study of the Renaissance 
period ornament cannot be overestimated. No style of decoration has ever 
been arranged with more regard to the principles of order - harmony, 
sequence, balance - than the ornament of this extraordinary period. 

The Italian Renaissance style is absolutely influenced by the old 
Roman forms. Some of the intact Roman buildings were the direct in- 

fluence of that remarkable period. Exact copies of designs were 
first obvious as the artists endeavored to introduce a vastly different 
style from what the Gothic art had been. There was really no attempt 
to launch entirely new designs and forms, but just a desire to use the 
lines of Pagan, Roman, and Greek art 'or modern Christian art. In fact, 
these old pagan designs were admired deeply by Italian artists who felt 
that nothing could be conceived, or innovated that could surpass these 




ancient patterns. These stone fragments of untold charm in their perfec- 
tion of details, could be used and recut to the building of Christian mon- 
uments and churches. We may mention here the great artist Donatello who 
executed with perfection the exquisite bas-relief designs which are still 
the admiration of the traveller. 

In France, however, the artist differed somewhat from the Italians 
in his conception of what this period represented in the world of art. 
Artists were accustomed to work in the Gothic style, despite the training 
which they received from the Italians who came to France, hence, the 
Renaissance movement in France developed suddenly on entirely new lines. 

Possessed of remarkable ambition to surpass their intructors the 
Italians, the French were not entirely dominated by Itelian influence. 
The style of French Renaissance is, therefore, considered of a very high 
standard. It is a modification of classic forms. 








The most remarkable feature of Indian Art is its quaint quality 
of originality. No foreign influence of any kind is apparent in their 
odd system of decoration. The nation of India has not been, and is 
hardly even today, a progressive nation. Their Art remains practically 
the same, symbolic in nature, and representative of their religion and 

They used practically the same or similar motifs based on one 
particular floral form which appears different, however, because of 
their innate sense of balance and rhythm. This explains why their 
designs are so far from being monotonous. Their natural instinct for 
color is exemplified by their harmonious schemes, so well adapted to 
the origninal application of their ornaments. They possess, however, 
certain rules for their color arrangements which they observe strictly, 
especially on their fabrics that are generally known to be exquisite in 
coloring as well as in design. Gold is often used in various grounds 
of light or dark surface. Often times a gold outline emphasizes the grace' 
ful unit of the decoration. 




Very few traces of Arabian Art may be obtainable; however the Arabs 
certainly designed and worked out an Art of some kind, but nothing in 
the line of pottery, arms or textiles exist today to give a clew to the 
particular originality of their Art. 

The spreading of Byzantine influence from the 6th to the 11th 
centuries in Europe contributed considerably to the development of the 
Arabian forms. The Arabian decoration is rather simple despite its many 
complicated forms. There are no superfluous lines. Their close contact 
with the Persian and Greek Art gave the Arabs the chance to develop forms 
that are called Byzantine. 

Inspired by Islam Art, their designs grew in different form* 
influenced by the Byzantine ornament which had been itself inspired by 
early Arabian designs in the beginning. For color a blue tonality 
with yellow and gold designs. 




Turkish Art is in fact a combination of modified Arabian forms 
with early Byzantine ornament. The Turks are not an artistic people. 
The grouping of entirely different motifs exemplifies a tendency to 
deviate from traditions and the ancient forms of their ancestors. 

They were the first among the nations of the East to adopt the 
style of the Western part of Europe in their architecture and general 
decorations. Even their beautiful carpets are not supposed to have 
been designed by them; their rugs, so well planned in both ornament 
and color, are said to be mostly Arabian in character. Therefore, 
their embroideries remain practically the only part of their Art that 
may readily be called Turkish ornament exempllifying the real character 
of that Nation. Their Art sense is considered below the standard of the 
Art of India. 





The main beauty of the Persian decorative design is its freedom 
and elegance that we notice in the rugs and printed cloths. Though 
inspired by Arabian motifs, the genius of the Persian nation contri- 
buted largely to the perfection and variety of her designs which we 
still find in her exquisite carpets, illuminated manuscripts, embroid- 
ery and pottery, so skillfully designed and executed. 

We may occasionally notice a similarity in her work with that 

of India, especially in the coloring, but as a whole, Persian decora- 
tive art, though beautiful, is not as perfect as the Arabian design. 
This may be due to the mixing of real life subjects in their composi- 
tion. But the great pomp of the Persian nation left its stamp on 
her entire system of decoration, and her undeniable skill and original 
taste gave her the chance of developing really more graceful forms 
than both India and Arabia. 

The floral designs arranged in various styles either #ith real 
or imaginary animals - sometimes a human figure - were as many other 
artistic nations' motifs - mostly symbolic, in the realm of ideas. 

Persian color harmony, though rather conventional, is like the 
style of the Art of India, polychromatic in nature on a dominant sur- 
face or ground. 





The origin of Celtic ornament has never been truly established. We 
hear that it was in Ireland, then again we are told its birthplace was in the 
Scandinavian countries. However, Celtic Art stands out as forms that ex- 
emplify their undoubted antiquity by this interlacing design derived from 
primitive ornaments. The main characteristic of their compositions is the 
absence of foliage and other plant forms; also their elaborate geometrical 
patterns. As it advanced in style, in connection with Byzantine forms the 

Celtic ornament was often composed with a part of the interlacing cord with 
animal forms, birds or heads of animals, which effect gave the entire arrange- 
ment an appearance of originality and decorative beauty. , 

Celtic ornaments do not seem to be symbolic in their general representa- 
tion except in one case where designs do not have definite beginning or end. 
This may have been inspired by the feeling of the eternal peace of future 

Their intricate interlaced designs and the perfection of their units 
of lines with repetition and alteration is so remarkable as to be almost 
beyond comprehension. The harmony of their line compositions was not on- 
ly exquisite in their intricate arrangements, but the coloring also is 
beautiful and extremely well balanced in value. 







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This short chapter on textiles is a mere expose of their origin and 
variety as used in clothing industry today. 

According to tradition, fig leaves were the first "textile" used by 
human beings. Leaves and grasses still clothe primitive tropical tribes. 
Early people of the temperate zone protected themselves from winter's cold, 
by animal skins and even today fur is the fabric from which Eskimos make 
their garments. As nomads became agricultural they learned to weave 
textiles from the wool of sheep and from flax and cotton plants. This 
spinning and weaving became not only a necessity of civilization but also 
a domestic art. As peoples became nations, textile played a more and 
more important part in human relations, differentiating priest from layman, 
ruler from the ruled - the higher the office the finer and more ornate the 

It is a far cry from primitive homespun to the intricately processed 
"miracle fabrics" of today and, in their extraordinary development, textiles 
have undergone various interesting phases. Though they differ considera- 
bly in origin, process and characteristics all textiles may be classified 

by the following analyses: 

I. Origin, or Raw Material: vegetable, animal, synthetic (man invented). 

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2, Process or Composition: woven, braided, knitted, or non-woven 
(the "Pellon" of i953). 
3* Charact eristics : 

a. Coloring: - dying, bleaching, printing. 

b. Finish: - lustrous, dull, smooth, rough. 

c. Quality: - soft, stiff, heavy, lightweight, thick, thin 

When we speak of textile whatever its kind, we seldom realize that it 
is composed of several parts, the smallest and most important being fiber . 
The fiber of the raw material is converted into a filament which may vary 
considerably in length according to the kind of raw material from which it 
comes, Thi8 in turn is made into yarn which constructs all kinds of threads 
interlacing each other vertically (the warp or yarn) or horizontally (woof, 
or filling yarn) to weave the textile according to the given design. 

Fibers may be (1.) animal , such as wool, mohair, alpaca, horsehair, 
silk, etc., or (2) , ve ge tab l e; such as linen, cotton, kapok, jute, straw, 
etc> or (3), man- made, such as "miracle fabrics" whose wide variety are 
in a class by themselves (so greatly their basic elements differ. They are» 

a. Ce llulose : chemically treated substance forming filaments produc- 
ing the lovely, silky rayons, berabergs, acetates, etc. 

b. Protein: fibers whose basic element is skim milk. From this 
"Lanital" (Italian) and "Aralac" (American) are manufactured to 
resemble wool, 

c. Vegetable bas e: corn meal and soy bean from which the cloth called 
"Zein" is made. 

d. Resins : "Nylon" and "Vinyon". 

These synthetic filaments undergo an elaborate cheaical process whose 


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terminology, like the names given the finished fabrics, bewilders the un- 
initiate. How these exquisitely lovely materials could be invented and 
perfected or even dreamed of is a mystery to purchasers. And their 
variety multiplies; 

For years type of textile has ceased to be regulated by the seasons. 
Appearance and durability rather than texture are now the determining 
factors, hence wool or aralac may be worn in summer; rayon and nylan in 
winter. Very few dress materials, if any, are fis stiff and heavy to- 
day as they were before the Twentieth Century. 

Some knowledge of the main classes of textile used in women's cloth- 
ing is so essential to prospective purchasers or makers of frocks, that 
I shall devote separate pages to each kind of materiel, manufactured at 
present in civilized countries. 

1 rtcif- o 


I o ; 9 or 

TO d-; 


Woolen cloth, the most ancient of textiles and, next to cotton, the 
roost important, comes from the fleece of domesticated sheep of which there 
are 40 species. Curiously enough, if domestic sheep are allowed te run 
wild they soon return to their primitive state and produce inferior wool. 

Sheep herding is said to be man*s first movement toward civilization* 
King David in the Old Testament was a shepherd and both Hebrews and 
Babylonians wore woolen cloth some thousand years B, C© and although var- 
ious modern devices have considerably reduced tne time required to manu- 
facture this textile, the method of preparing wool fibers is today practi- 
cally the same as it was then. 

In Europe, as early as 200 B, C, Romans improved their breed of sheep 
and it is said that the famous merinos of Spain are descendants of those 
Roman flocks. Crossed with native breeds of other countries, Spain's 
merino, which produces the most beautiful of all wools, is responsible 
for the marked improvement in zc.e crossbreed of which there are approxi- 
mately 200 varieties, Spain forbade the export of her merino for cen- 
turies until tne Treaty of Armada permitted Britain its importation and 
in 1795 the ban was lifted for all countries. But England, because of 
her soil and climate, could not raise the merino sheep successfully. 
Every English colony started raising sheep, however, and soon England 
became the best producer of wool in the world. She has been making 
woolen cloth since 1066 when skilled weavers were brought from the con- 
tinent to teach her. 

In the United States woolen mills were established in Massachusetts - 
one in Rowley (1643) and the other at Watertown (1664)„ It was also in 


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Massachusetts, in the late 18th Century, that a water-power mill ap- 
peared. Incidentally, President Washington raised flocks of sheep 

aid the weave -shed and looms of his plant may be seen at Mr. Vernon, 

But it was Hartford, Connecticut, that his inaugural suit of fine, dark 
brown wool was made. Today, our States that raise sheep and manufac- 
ture wools are Texas, which leads in quantity, Wyoming, California, 
Colorado, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Michigan, 
Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio whose wool equals in quality the merino of 
Central Europe, Australia, South America and South Africa. 

Thi6 warm, soft, strong, practical fabric so elastic it may be 
stretched one-third its original length without breaking, is now manu- 
factured all over the world. The quality of the cloth is determined 
by the length of its fiber. Fine broadcloths and other fine woolens 
come f rom shorter staples whereas long, less wavy fibers make worsted 
and other less expensive fabrics Sheep raised in Ireland, Scotland 
and Canada, etc., give this longer staple which, however, makes a very 
good quality of wool. "Mongrel sheep" give irregular staple-fibers 
(sometimes 16" long) which produce inferior v»ool used mostly for rugs, 
carpets, etc,, but also for children's clothes. 

Wools are cheap in places far from civilization but rather costly 
in some European countries and especially in our own land whose high 
custom tariff protects wool growers and manufacturers. 

Cloth is also made from "pulled" or "dead" wool, so-called because 
taken ^rom the cast-off hides of slaughter-house sheep. This wool is 
used in greater quantity than the virgin wool but is inferior to it 


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because of the chemicals used to detach the fibers from the dead animals. 

Fleece gives us such cloths as challis, cheviot, covert cloth, flannel, 

kasha, tweed, serge, wool jersey, etc,, etc. 

In the days of cotton-and-wool, or synthetic fiber-and-wool mixtures 
or substitutes for wool, it is well for milady to look for the descrip- 
tive tag on her prospective purchase. For instance, "100$ virgin wool" 
means weol that has never before been used nor mixed with other fibers. 
On the other hand, "re-used" wool means, as the name indicates, wool that 
has been used already in material and is now re-maae into other apparent- 
ly new material. That we call reprocessed wool means that the wool 
fabric had been previously reduced to fiber. 

Because not all wools are fabricated from sheep's fleece Milady the 
Purchaser of woolen yardage or garments should know the main classes which 
are. often times mentioned as wool but *hich come from various animals such 

Alpaca : named for the animal which is allied to the camel family and 
is indigenous to Peru and Chili and whose fleece makes it. Alpaca cloth, 
stylish and expensive at the turn of the century, is seldom mentioned now. 
Peruvians wore it before the Spanish Conquest and afterward made it suc- 
cessfully for European trade. 

Angora: comes from the fleece of the Angora goat (said by some to 
be the most ancient domestic animal known) and is especially adapted 
for hand and power knitting. Mohai r is made from it, a strong, cool, 
dust and moisture resistant cloth used mostly for upholstery, braid, 
lining, and even false hair. 

Ca shmer e: a soft. wool, beautiful, practical, but expensive, made 


O . 



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American Wool Cloth - 

Englinh Wool Tweed 

Shoddy Wool Cloth 





Mojiie.S^Vft', Amchi'cjtt- Wool £/o/fc 



from the fine fleece beneath the hair of the goats of Kashmere, Tibet, 
and the Himalayas* The brownish fibers are strong and silky. Paisley 
shawls are made of this cloth, as well as dresses. 

Llama ; named after the South American animal llama, native of Bolivia, 
Peru and Argentina, a smaller, humpless cousin of the camel family. Llama 
makes a strong, durable cloth for sportswear. 

Vicuna t a very soft fabric selling for more than $100 a yard, from 
the fleece of the vicuna, a small relative of the llama roaming the Andes 
from Ecuador to Bolivia and often feeding in sheep pastures. Its red- 
dish tan hair is delicate and lovely. 


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Perhaps the oldest vegetable textile fiber is flax. From its fila- 
ments comes linen, -strong, beautiful, popular. Egyptians wore linen some 
5000 years ago. They also used it to encase mummies. To such a high 
state of perfection did they bring it that its finest was almost as sheer 
as modern chiffon.' Throughout antiquity linen was a symbol of luxury, and 
to be dressed"in purple and fine linen" signified royalty or at least aris- 

Curiously enough, it was Phoenicians who introduced flax -cu It i rat ion 
into Ireland, and today Eire, possessing one-third of the world 1 * spindles, 
leads in the production of fine linen - the best, in fact, Belgium comes 
a close second because of the composition of nor Lys River water. Coutrai, 
on that river is nicknamed "the flax city". Other countries raising flax 
are France, Holland, Russia, South Africa, India, Asia Minor, Japan and China. 

Linen fabricating is a long process and every country has its own method. 
Russia uses the most ancient and natural onw - retting - which still is 
considered the best for durability, but Ireland has developed the most rapid 
method called tank-retting. Ireland's industry was founded by French tex- 
tile workers about 1700 A. D. Around that time a man, Louis Crommelin, im- 
proved the technique of raising and processing flax. 

As early as 1686 and 1688 England and Scotland had flourishing linen 
industries, the weaving of the flax being done, however, entirely in the 
home until 1787 when England established a spinning mill. Next, in 1812, 
she introduced a successful power loom. Our American colonies also culti- 
vated flax and their homespun linen, as it is still called, was used ex- 
tensively by our forefathers not only for their clothes but also for their 
household linen. They had brought the indispensable spinningwheel with 


• 1 o o 


them from England, France, or Holland, etc., and every girl learned to spin 
as a matter of necessity. Today, the United States cultivates flax in 
the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Montana, chiefly for linseed oil and imports 
her yarn for linen manufacture, cotton having superseded linen as an 
American textile industry. 

Linen making has been so perfected that it is now non-shrinkable, but 
though it launders well, it still fails to take dye evenly and although it 
is much cooler than cotton it is so much more expensive that it is less 
universally used. However, nothing seems to affect it, neither water, 
hot sun, soap or a hot iron. 

Under the microscope linen fiber resembles bamboo in structure and is 
much longer than that of cotton, but to distinguish between the two textiles, 
which closely resemble each other, the simplest method is that used by 
French peasants and New Englanders who dampen a little spot and watch it 
spread - the linen will absorb more quickly* 

Linen is manufactured in a wide variety of weaves such as batiste, 
homespun, linon (French for lawn), crash, handkerchief linen, and Irish. 

<abs\li Jticioi-jUbn. 

SSei *5 T H I H S VI A VI 1 d 


Irish Linen 

Home-spun Linen 

Handkerchief Linen 



Cotton, though now being superseded largely by rayon and nylon for 
dresses and underwear, is the number one fabric. Its manufacture is 
one of the important industries in the United States of America, and not 
only supplies 90% of clothing material but is used also in connection 
with medicine and in the manufacture of explosives. 

White or creamy, the small cotton plant belongs to the mallow family 
and is related to the hollyhock. Though tropical, it is also cultivated 
successfully in temperate climates where there is satisfactory rainfall. 
Of its numerous species, varying in quality and appearance, only three or 
four are essential to man. Egyptian cotton is said to be among the best 
because of the Nile River which irrigates the valley where it grows, but 
the Sea Island species off the coast of Georgia turns out the most per- 
fect cotton in the world. Closely resembling the Egyptian is Arizona 
cotton but its fibers are longer (1 long}, Mexican and Peruvian 

fabrics are very much like in color and texture that in Egyptian tombs. 
The Peruvian fiber yields a very strong filament often mixed with wool 
yarn for the manufacture of merino because it is itself rather wooly. 
Cotton with a long, silky fiber used for priestly garments grows in India, 
China and Abyssinia. 

Our earliest records of cotton-growing are in India, 1800 B. C., and 
later in Egypt. In the first century A. D. , muslin and calico were 
brought to Italy and Spain by Arab traders, and in the 9th Century, Moors 
were cultivating cotton in Spain. The Crusades spread the knowledge of 
cotton throughout Europe end as early as the 13th century England was 
using cotton for candlewick. Columbus, in 1492, found cotton trees in 



. .1'JO* 

i e 


** x' 


the Bahama Islands and took samples to Spain. By 1519 cotton was found 
in Mexico and Central America by Pizarro and Cortez, and Brazil was culti- 
vating it in 1520* Not before 1641, however, was cotton established as 
an industry in England and around 1701 Britain forbade its use in order to 
protect her wool industry. 

Here in the United States cotton was being raised in 1607 in Jamestown 
Colony, and plantations 7*ere flourishing by 1650. Of course, a6 early as 
1792 Eli Whitney, an American teacher in Connecticut had invented the well- 
known cotton gin (a machine for separating the cotton from its seed) which, 
though a simple device, revolutionized the cotton industry by speeding up 
production. Now, our "cotton belt", extends from Texas to North Carolina, 
At present (1953) we supply 50$ of the world's cotton consumption. Down 
the years there have been 4000 attemps to perfect a mechanical cotton pick- 
er to do away with the tedioue back-breaking business of hand-picking. 
Rust brothers having successfully invented one in 1936, we may increase 
production further. Yet, so far is we ourselves are concerned, we con- 
sume only 15% of the output. 

How is cotton cloth graded, you ask. Ey the number of threads to 
the square inch, called"the thread count", of crosswise or filling yarns. 
Cotton #aste is used for paper padding. 

According to recent (1953) reports of the cotton manufacturing in- 
dustry, its importance seems to be increasing so much that manufacturers 
are speaking of it as the Miracle fabric. 



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Egyptian Cotton 

American Cotton 

Cotton from India 



Silk, that beautiful and strong product of the mulberry 'tree's silk- 
worm, does not seem tc date as far back as cotton or linen. Chinese 
legend, however, put it at 2640 B. C. when the young impress, Li-Ling- 
Chi, discovered how the thread could oe unwound from the silkworm's 
cocoon and spun into cloth. Astonished China justly named her "Goddess 
of the Silk Worm", and started cultivating mulberry trees and developing 
her silk industry to a high degree of excellence. She kept her secret 
for centuries by threatening the death penalty on any betrayer of it. 

Nevertheless, it was disclosed to Japan in the third century A. D. 
and she immediately became interested in sericulture. iuvemually, small 
quantities of raw silk found their way to Greece and Persia, who marveled 
at the extraordinary substance. It was not till the sixth century, how- 
ever, that the Roman Empire and the Western 7»orld heard of the cocoon's 
mysterious, lovely filament. By 552 A. D. missionary monks, aft&r a 
long stay in China, had brought back silk-worm eggs and bundles of young 
mulberry trees thus starting an industry that has flourished till now 
when the 20th century has given birth to still more astonishing textile 
marvels through chemical experimentation. France, became especially 
zealous in silk manufacture, Lyons being her foremost designing center. 

During the 1880 *s the silk industry was in grave danger of disap- 
pearing because of disease devastating the silk worms, but the great 
scientist, Louis Pasteur, (he who invented the pasteurization of milk)by 

study found the cause of the disease and saved the silk industry. He 
initiated scientific methods of selecting silkworm eggs and became known 


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as the "Father of Modern Sericulture". 

Silk fiber originates thus, On the mulberry leaf the moth lays its 
eggs which hatch out of the larvae which, in turn grow into worms and for 
three days these spin their cocoon from which, some fifteen days later, 
bursts a new moth to lay its average of 350 eggs, and the cycle repeats 

Silk fiber is elastic and in color ranges from creamy white to tan, 
the fibers of the uncultivated silkworm being somewhat darker. They take 
dyes beautifully. For centuries silk has had no rival in beauty, durabil- 
ity and strength, silk fiber having one-third the strength of iron wire. 
It sheds dust easily and is cool even when the weather is warm. It is 
easily cleansed but does not launder so well. Its natural luster may 
be increased by manufacturing process. On the other hand, silk can easily 
be spoiled. Dampness tends to rot it, hence it is poor material for 
tropical use. 

Silks are of many kinds such as China, gros-grain, taffeta, foulard, 
surah, satin, pongee, shantung, moire, chiffon, crepe, etc. Today some 
of these are so closely imitated in rayon as nearly to baffle all but the 
expert and it is a question whether synthetic "miracle fabrics" may not 
ultimately supersede the mulberry's miracle textile. 

The United States of America has not been successful so far in cul- 
tivating silkworms chiefly, perhaps, for economic reasons. Labor is so 
much more expensive here than in China where girls received,, 5 to 10/ a 
day, or Japan whose wage was 25/, or Italy, even, where werkers ' pay wa* 
40/ a day, (1938). 



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As we have said, rayon is a successful substitute for silk. Cheaper 
than either silk or cotton, easily mixed with cotton or wool, extremely 
durable and perfected to launder well, it leads as a textile for the man- 
ufacture of women* 8 dresses and underwear. 

Asearly as 1664 the British scientist, Dr. Hoote^ after much research 
and experiment created an artificial fiber* In 1710 the French physiciBt, 
Rene de Reaumur suggested the possibility of producing a textile fiber to 
replace cotton and silk The Swiss chemist, Georg« Audemars, after con- 
siderable experimentation took out in 1855 a patent for making fine threads 
from riitro-cellulose. By 1884, Sir Joseph W. Swan, one of Edison's as- 
sociates, exhibited what he called artificial silk cloth made from fila- 
ments developed by his own process invented in 1877, From 1884 t» 1889 
Count Hilaire de Chardonnet, Pasteur's pupil, was making an extract from 
mulberry leaves from which he built up an artificial silk which he exhi- 
bited in Paris in 1890, He had been working on the idea for over thirty 
years. That same year Louis Henri Despaissis patented his cuprammonium 
process which German scientists afterward improved and two years later the 


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viscose process was patented by its discoverers , Cross and Bevan. In 
1908 artificial silk hosiery wasjbeing manufactured from imported rayon 
yarn and Marcus Hook in 1911 established a viscose rayon plant-in Penn- 
sylvania. But really it was not till 1920 that a successful process 
was developed by Henri and Camille Dreyfus. That same year rayon yarn 
was produced commercially at approximately six dollars a pound, today it 
is only fifty-five cents a pound. Not till 1924 did various commercial 
associations and the United States Department of Commerce adopt for these 
synthetic textiles the general name of rayon. Now, besides Pennsylvania, 
the United States has rayon factories in Virginia and Tennessee (from both 
which comes one-half of our production), Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, 
and Georgia. The rayon factories of Europe are in France, Germany, England, 
Italy, Holland, Belgium, Switierland and Chechoslovakia,, In Asia, Japan 
manufactures it. 

The materials, processes and finished rayon products differ greatly 
as may be guessed somewhat from the numerous trade names given to identi- 
fy them such as "acetate staple", "acetate staple rayon", "aristocrat" 
(beraberg), "cuprammonium rayon", "avisco", "viscose rayon staple fiber" 
(very strong), "bemberg", "ceylonese", "acetate rayon yarn" and fabrics, 
etc All these, together with other synthetics of various ba3ic ele- 
ments comprise the textiles nicknamed "miracle fabrics" which seem SO 
mysterious and bewilder us so that manufacturers are now putting the 
trade names somewhere on the garment to identify the substance of which 
it is made. 

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Well acquainted, as we are at present with this extraordinary and 
beautiful fabric - used now, not only for underwear but also for dresses, 
blouses, etc., it is interesting to learn what its substance consists 
of I quoting the dictionary (Thorndike-Barnhart) ."Nylon, an extremely 
strong elastic, and durable substance, used to make clothing, stockings, 
bristles, etc.". 

The fibers of that wonderful textile are composed of coal (from 
mines of Kanawha River Valley, W. Virginia), air and water. The Nylon 
salt is then produced which Du Pont (plant in Seaford, Delaware)uses for 
the manufacturing of xhe finished product nylon, ( introduced m 1940). 

Nylon replaces other materials for various reasons, principally 
because it launders easily and dries rapidly. It needs no ironing and 
takes very little room in Madame* s valise. 

We owe this remarkable invention to Dr. Wallace H. Carother, whose 
chemical exploration lead to the discovery of Nylon, after eleven years 
of research and experiments. 




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Lanital was first manufactured in Italy about 1924 to replace wool 
fhich was rare and too expensive. 

Here in America we have Aralac (same basic elements; which takes 
its name from the first letters of Atlantic Research Association (Ara), 
and the last syllable lac from the latin base for the word milk . It 
is made from casein, the principal protein being milk. The plants are 
in Newt or ri lie, Massachusetts, and Taftville, Connecticut. If Aralac 
could satisfactorily replace wool for clothing, it certainly would be a 
much cheaper textile as it takes one year for a sheep to produce about 
eight pounds of fibers, while a cow gives enough milk in the same time 
(one year) to produce approximately 100 pounds of casein fiber. 

Lanital and Aralac take the same kind of dyes that wool cloth does. 
However, a prolonged boiling treatment may considerably weaken their 
strength. «ixed with other major fibers, Aralac frequently replaces 
wool cloth for garments. It was used first in the making of felt hats. 

And the list of man-made fabrics continues rapidly from year to 
year, with varied names that suggest the atomic age* Orion, Dracon, Dynel , 
Lurex , Vicar a, etc. Materials, though mysterious as to their composi- 
tion, are most satisfactory in the manufacturing of clothes itoet of 
them, light weight and strong, easy to launder, emerging from the tub with 
their frills and plaits unchanged, are gaining in popularity. 

This revolutionary change in textile was so well exemplified by the 
recent exhibition, sponsored by Filene's of Boston, Massachusetts, at the 

Museum of Science, Boston, (1953). The display of these magic tissues dyed 
in gorgeous hues actually took the feminine public by surprise and now the 
entire population as textile conscious. 


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From year to year, miracles are performed in the field ef fabrics; 
the latest one called "Pellon" is decidedly astonishing ia its texture, 
resembling glessy thin leather. 

Recently appearing in the United States (1953), this new material 
is non-woven, non-shrinkable, and actually possesses all the qualities 
ef ether synthetic fabrics (nylen, erlon, etc.)* while being more 
practical. It is extremely strong, cuts easily, and alse pleasant te 
manipulate baring no bias and ne salvage, is composed of various kinds 
ef fibers (wool, camel's hair, etc.) and chemically treated. 

Pollen is mostly used for interlining because it is warm - does 
net wrinkle, consequently does net interfere with the perfect fit ef a 
garment or suit. 

Though the credit of such a useful discovery may be attributed to 
a fiber expert by the name of David Vorgenstern who discovered it in a 
Holland shop while travelling in Europe in search ef new material, the 
real inventors were two young scientists, one Dutch and the other 
German, who actually developed that marvelous fabric before World 7/ar 
11, and later perfected "Pollen") it was net then called by that name. 
David Morgeastern, who began manufacturing the new cloth in this country, 
gave it the name "Pollen". 














The arrangement of tones in dress is almost as essential as the 
cut and line, and the general style of a garment. It must be kept in 
harmony with the individual coloring of the wearer, that is, where the 
psychology of color reveals itself as a significant factor in relation 
to color as applied to costume. Each color creates a certain sentimental 
impression, and nearly always expresses the character of the wearer. 

The unexplained fascination of color remains a charming enigma. 
In its meaning and interpretation, it is as expressive as music, an 
atmosphere of joy or gloom may be created by certain color schemes and 
our sensitiveness is more or less affected by various combinations. 

Everyone is anxious to wear the newest or latest hues that 
fashion dictates. It is important, therefore, that women who wish to 
design their clothes and dress in the latest style, should learn the 
spectrum colors, the meaning of color value, classification of color 
harmony, and the laws of contrast. Colors are warm or cool, light or 
dark, luminous or dull, and the effect varies according to the change 
of atmosphere and light, etc. 

The three main sources from which we may guide ourselves in the 
combining of colors are the color spectrum, nature, and a close observa- 
tion and study of the many artistic arrangements of tones that have been 
used throughout the ages during the best period of decorative art. Hue, 
value, and intensity, the three properties of color, must be well under- 
stood before attempting to form harmonious arrangements of tones following 
the trend of fashion, with the many new names of color. 

HUE is the color itself, the property by which we recognize each 
one; Ex. - Blue, red, and yellow, which are the primary colors. The 
spectrum, commonly called the color wheel, is the direct result of the 
close analysis of light. 

The spectrum of colors varies slightly when seen under different 
light, such as sunlight, gas light, electric light, etc., however, it 
does not change considerably. 

The secondary colors are composed of two primaries, ex. - red and 
yellow form orange; blue and yellow, green; red and blue, violet. 

VALUE in color means the degree or proportions of light or dark 
in its particular shade. A color is full intensity or neutralized (dark 
or light). Value is actually measured and is as important as color 

INTENSITY or CHROMA means the brilliancy of a color. The colors 
of the spectrum are full intensity, measured by wave lengths. In the 
various use of colors, it is often mixed or neutralized in its use 
especially for the manufacturing of textiles. 


There are new colors and new combinations every season and new 
names are added to the long list of fashionable tones. Eugene Chevreul 
(1786-lb 89^ , in his book "Simultaneous Contrast", explains the various 
effects and results of colors being placed side by side when not related. 
According to this famous Frenchman, 720 colors may be made from the 
primaries, /bout 1330 this great chemist was drafted by the Government 
of France to make colors for the Gobelin Tapestry manufacture, as he 
was considered the best chemist of France. He took about two years 
to study colors and wrote several books from which the majority of 
writers on color obtained their information. 

Mr. Munsell, the great American colorist, mentioned Mr. Chevreul 
in his wonderful book. It is said that in the Gobelin Tapestry rooms 
12,000 shades of colors are made from the primary and secondary colors. 
Contrast, whether of color itself, or of color value, is essential to 
all schemes of beautiful association. For commerce, for dressmakers 
and milliners, colors are generally named from flowers, fruits, 
minerals and other substances. It is for us to analyze these shades 
and distinguish the spectrum color from which they were made. 







By color harmony, we mean a well-balanced and proportioned 
arrangement pleasing to the eye. 

The various schemes of color arrangements may be excellent, 
beautiful, satisfactory, or odious; they may be attractive and 
commanding. Therefore, we must have rules to govern ourselves in the 
combining of two or more hues, using the scientific classification of 
color harmony which is composed of four kinds of color schemes. These 
various combinations of tones may be classified as follows: Complementary, 
Analogous, Contrasted, Dominant, and Perfected. 



1. Complementary harmony. Colors that are placed opposite on 
the scale of colors form what is called a Complementary scheme of 
color; it is a beautiful contrast of warm and cool tones. Ex.- red and 

2. Analogous harmony. This scheme of tones is formed with two 
or more colors placed next to each other on the scale of colors, 
between primaries. *x. Blue and violet. 

3. Contrasted harmony. A combination of colors and non-colors 
form a contrasted scheme of color. Ex. Blue and white. 

4. Dominant harmony. A color scheme composed of one color in a 
sequence arrangement of different values. Ex. Brown, orange, sand 
color and pale yellow orange. 

5. We also have Perfected harmony which is composed of two sets 
of complementaries. 

Dark colors are often changeable in combination with lighter tones - 
they sometimes appear darker, and one should give serious reflection to 
the value of the colors involved in a particular creation. 

Each color expresses a clear meaning; it is cold or it is warm. 
The scale may be divided into two parts from yellow to red violet (included); 
they are warm colors. From violet to yellow green, they are cool colors. 

Light tones are more expressive than dark ones; they seem to give 
an immediate feeling of gaiety, for ex. Yellow, while violet affects us 
differently; it is almost depressing in its sombre aspect. 

But colors follow the trend of current events, and are, in a large 
measure, influenced by minor incidents in the life of an important 
personality. Seasons have more or less discontinued to influence colors 



for dress, and one may observe that the various shades worn during the 
Winter months may also be in vogue during the Spring and even during 

the Summer, following, to a certain degree, the recent current events 
which are powerful in their symbolic meaning to influence and inspire 
the making of tones for fashions. 

Individual taste varies considerably in the matter of color and 
color combinations. But training and the knowledge of the laws of 
simultaneous contrast (Chevruel) helps one to select and follow the 
rules of color harmony. Under all circumstances, appropriatness and 
suitability in the preference of certain shades for dress, should form 
a background for the complexion, the eyes, and the hair of the wearer 
of this or that color in a frock. 

Hue, Value, and Intensity, perfectly balanced in harmonious 
effects, are generally the result of a scientific basic knowledge, and 
differ vastly from harmony in music which is more scientifically 
defined and much easier to master. The two Arts, however, both awake 
in people the same feeling of pleasure or pain. 

A certain scheme of color is bound to produce that agreeable or 
disagreeable sensation when it first meets the eye, wherever it may be - 
it is beautiful or just satisfactory, hence the reason actresses, 
singers, and public speakers attach so much importance and significance 
to the impression they may create with the manner in which they dress. 

It is said that a blonde may wear a3 many as 480 shades, while her 
sister, the brunette, has 370; the red or Titian hair girl may take her 
choice among a range of about 300 shades. The gray haired matron may 
pick out 280 warm or cool different tones. 

Yellow - is cheerful, light and gay. 

Orange - warmth, being quite often a real stimulant. 

Red - excitement, heat and irritation. 

Violet - sombre and dignified; often expresses a certain amount of 
sadness. It is also used for mourning. 

Blue - possesses the quality of sweetness though rather cold. 
Its expression of purity has caused the artists of many periods, princi- 
pally the Renaissance, to use it lavishly for the Virgin and classical 
art in general. 

White - containing all colors, may be considered becoming to all 
types of personality in its powerful meaning of purity. Although white 
is not listed among the colors of tbe scale, it is used profusely; 
it magnifies, however, all persons and objects. 

Black - in its absence of all tones, means sadness, grief and despair; 
it is used for deep mourning, but also occupies an important place in the 
fashion world. It is rather powerful in its ability of reducing the 
figure, hence, the popularity of black being worn in all seasons and 

Neutralized tones are powerless in their respective meaning and 
characterization, but they are used constantly in combination with vivid 

The question of color arrangements, however, always remains a com- 
plicated sort of controversy in all art productions (beautiful costumes 
are artistic productions) when the aim of pleasing the eye of the public 
remains in the balance. The trained colorist is well aware of that 
sensation of disturbance or of pleasure, caused by the grouping 


of the new colors on the modes launched by the great designers, and the 
desire of every creator of fashions is to please, hence, to discover the 
reaction of the public, at the various fashion shows. 

There is apparently no limit to the vast number of fancy and odd 
names given to the new colors and nuances built up of pure colors either 
slightly neutralized or mixed with another brilliant hue. It is advised 
that the student make a systematic study of the new tones analyzing every 
one while using them on their designs. The blues may be Navy, Marine, 
Oxford, Royal, Stratosphere, Copenhagen, Belgian, Corbeau, Cornflower, 
Delf, Alice, Ciel, Watteau, Grotto, Sapphire, Yale Raven, Turquoise, etc. 
Red may be Flame, American Beauty, Tomato, Cerise, Begonia, Poppy, 
Cardinal, Bordeaux, Coquelicot, Beetroot, Ruby, Wine, Claret, Jacque, 
LaBelle France, etc., and the numerous rose colors, such as Old Rose, 
Geranium, Flesh, Coral, Jersey Peach, Raspberry, Tango, Cranberry, Brick, 
etc. Yellow presents no end of variety, among which are Canary, Gold, 
Mais, Brass, Mustard, Bidder, Cream, etc. Green may be Bottle, Nile, 
Saga, Reseda, Olive, Prairie, Russian, Myrtle, Empire, Emerald, Epinard, 
Laurier, Forest Green, Dark Green. Violet is a color that has given many 
gorgeous shades of Lavender, Orchid, Lilac, then Purple, Amethyst, listeria, 
Eveque, ^egrets, Prune, Plum. As for the Orange, it comprises all the 
beautiful shades of light orange neutralized or mixed with the complementary 
color such as the many browns, only to name a few - Tabac, Spice, Marron, 
Panama, Seal. The lighter shades - Regent, Castor, Panama, New Tan, 
Champagne, Fawn, Beige, Beach Sand. 

The names of new shades are generally inspired by some important 
current event or by an art exhibit of leading and prominent artists, and 


there is no limited extent to the mixing possibilities of the various 
colors. Certain colors are extremely popular, and there is a marked 
tendency to wear these unusual tones at the beginning of every season. 
Until a certain time, Canary Yellow as a color for gowns had not been 
in favor. A. manufacturer of Lyons, France, conceived the idea to launch 
velvet of that hue on the Parisian market. Unfortunately, the merchants 
refused to buy this velvet on the ground that French women would not 
wear such a shade. A factory, filled with goods that would not sell, meant 
ruin for this bold Frenchman, but he suddenly became inspired with a 
brilliant idea. He went to Paris and interviewed the most popular actress 
in France. In his predicament, he inspired her to take enough velvet for 
a dress which she would wear on the stage. The sensation that she 
created when she appeared in a gown of this odd color may be imagined 
when every woman in Paris wanted to wear Canary Yellow. The manufacturer^ 
fortune was made as this fashion swept Furope and came to the United States. 







The question often arises, ''How does a fashion originate?" In reply, 
we can say, thft anything and everything may be the cause — a popular play, 
e r t exhibit, new movie star, current happenings in war and peace— but the 
standard influence is the history of costume itself. "ithout copying their 
modes of dress exactly, great designers habitually turn to the costumes of 
our ancestors for inspiration. 

As a matter of fact, never does one know in advance from where fashion 
will borrow its main lines for the next season. A variety of circumstances 
may influence it. Just now, for instance, in 1953, we have two conflict- 
ing modes of silhouette: a wide, full skirt, and at the same time a narrow 
effect. Tiiis full skirt may quite possibly be the influence of our present 
prosperity j the narrow effect, an effort to maintain a sylph-like appearance. 

Subjects to be analyzed: 

a. The present trend of style. 

b. Radical changes. 

Cm National current events. 
d_. Symbolism, 
a. The Present Trend of Style 

A study of present trends in style is of uppermost importance. 
Hie appearance of novelty must be obvious, but what were the steps taken to 
create it? One must, to find this out, visit with sketch book in hand, 



the most up-to-date dress shops; read regularly the letest fashion articles; 
know the names and characteristics of the great fashion designers of Paris, 
New York, and Hollywood, and acquaint oneself with their new lines and 

b. Radical Changes 

Analyze the main lines of the new radical change * No one, not 
even the professional coutourier, will dare to create a garment that differs 
entirely in its general lines from the particular year's style, and these 
general lines remain the principal characteristic of costume. To make our 
analysis, then, we must first be fully acquainted with the four main points 
in this latest fashion, thus: 

The neckline - Is it low, high, pointed, round, square, "bateau", etc. 

The sleeves - Are they long, short, plain or puffy? 

The waistline - Is it high, normal, or low? 

The skirt - Is it long, short, full, wide, narrow, trimmed or plain? 

Remember that these principal characteristics of costume - neckline, 
sleeves, waistline, skirt, constitute the silhouette, and a cnange in silhou- 
ette means a change of style. For example, let us analyze Dior's "new look" 
of 1947. The neckline continued to be low except for certain occasions, 
and, in any case, was not exaggerated. It was glamorized and elegant. 

It was the skirt, long and wide, that made the true radical change which 
people, in 1947, called "the new look." The waistline remained normal and 
very tight, raising the bust resembling Directoire period without, however, 
being called :, nirectoire. " No looseness at all was displayed in the bodice, 
the darts § hve ?n effect of Renaissance fashion. The sleeve, 

whether short or long, set in or kimono, remained more as during the last years 
of the War except that the "shoulder pads" were less voluminous. 

c # National Current Events 

These always play an important part in clothes designing. After 
^orld 7 r ar II, as indeed, after any war, daring and extravagant gorgeous new 
fabrics dyed bright hues, expresses the rifling spirits of people. 

In Boston, in 1946, Eilene ' s "Fashion Train" , which was to call 
public attention to the importance of the textile industry in New England, 
created a sensation with designs inspired by New England history as "the 
central theme.'' But whatever tne reason for a fashion or clothes exhibit 
of any icind, the future costume designer should always attend them to note 
the "new wrinkle", fad, colors, combination of fabrics and trimmings, all 
of which are essential in creating the chic frock. 

The influence of National events on dress design is strikingly illus- 
trated by the fact that the two i"orld T7ars in which our country entered 
decisively the global arena for die first time as a world power, released 
our fashion makers and followers from a too slavish adherence to the fashion 
dictates from abroad. Before 1914 our women lacked individuality in dress. 
Indeed, a kind of monotonous uniformity existed. 'Tnen, in the fashions from 
Paris radical changes appeared, such as tne hobble skirt, the unwritten law 
in our country was that our feminine world must abide by the change. Conse- 
quently, women were often petrified by the extremely new. They hesitated 
to adopt it at once lest they look too stylish and odd, yet in adopting the 
radical change they felt they must do so to the least detail, changing 
nothing whatsoever in line, color, or trimming. Today, so far have our 
costumers gone in init'ative that they create various adjuncts which often make 
the entire gown appear as an original design. In any case, our women now 
may act independently in the designing field, provided they follow the main 
lines launched by the great fashion designers of p aris and New York. 


d # Symbolism . 

This is about the hardest matter to realize in the fashion field 
because it is so abstract. It doesn't lend itself easily to analysis and 
is still less easy to describe. But it exists and has always been very 
obvious. The most definite means of conveying it is through colors. 
This is where a study of tone psychology comes in. 'Tien, in 1945, the 
United Nations was uppermost in our thoughts, the colors in vogue were 
blue and white. >t the ^resident's inauguration January 1949, the tints 
dominating feminine fashion expressed cheerfulness. 

At the end of any conflict, such as war, or an affair of widespread 
interest, a remarkable display of symbolic designs on various materials 
testify to the interest that had been aroused. La mode at such times 
favors all kinds of odd emblems on our great variety of fabrics. These 
unique designs are significant of tne passing event. For instance, 
in 1949, when we had an eclipse of tne moon, there appeared on dress 
materials motifs of the moon, stars, and even a comet to represent our 
interest in heavenly happenings. During ™orld War I many textiles had stars 
as their main design unit not, this time, because of phenomena in the sky, 
but because we Americans had just joined the Allies in the global conflict. 
Another example is the large, clear-cut designs of figured and flowered 
materials which were brought about by the popularity of Modern Art. These 
large figures had no shadows. The color harmony, as one might expect, was 
a dominant scheme with an occasional contrasting background. 

To sum up, whatever the reason for a symbol in a design may be, the 
custom of using symbolism is of long standing and persists right along in 
the designing field. Ex.- The black bew as a headdress of the Ala*ti»fc 
cestu»e was added in 1870 as a synbel cf sadness at the loss of the Provinces, 
Alsace and Lorraine tc Germany. 





Decoration, ornamentation, adornment, or trimming used in the man- 
ufacturing of women's attire play an important part in the designing of 
a gown, a hat, or even a coat. 

Of course, trimming, as we commonly call all decorations on women's 
dresses, vary considerably in their particular kind. They add a great 
deal to the style or even to the beauty of feminine clothes, but of all 
adornments used* lace and embroidery were and still are the most popular 
in the wide field of decorative art - ribbons, buckles, and braid 
at certain periods of costume history proved to have been the main accent 
of a fashionable frock. However, tucks and shirring, also smocking 
have been and are still used extensively in the trimming of gowns, es- 
pecially when the dress is made of thin and expensive fabricsjnow anethen 
shirring may take the place of extra fullness, but in this case it quite 

often adds charm and a feminine toueh to a garment. Ruffles form an at- 


tractive addition on a plain bodice or even an entire dainty frock. They 
have been used for centuries, not only on women's clothes, but on men's 
attire which was elaborately adorned with lace ruffles on the neck and 
the sleeves. 

As for tucks, -straight , single, in clusters, on the bias or on the 
length or width of the material - they sometimes form the only decoration 
of an original and costly gown. If on the bias, tucks used in a cluster 
follow a definite and artistic pattern or design. Smocking is still used 
on children's clothes - it is beautiful and varies considerably in design. 

Braid, which was used extensively for military purposes, became 
extremely a la mode on feminine clothes during the end of the nineteenth 

Htf, »C( 


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c.nt ury .„. r th . innOTOtion of m >ewins racMne whea m ^ ^ 

«a» pr.,ti..lly cov.r., *«, thi. tr iml „ e . . of ri . boI) ar , 

ful an* still stylish on so„. parts of a gown, not as «uch of sours,, as 

soring th. S.vsnts.nth Cntury when ri.hon was us., .vsryh.r. on th. 


As for buttons and buckles, they date baek very far in the history 
of Costume - both forced a part of Greek and Roman attire when they were 
used as fasteners, and during th. Tenth Century in Europe buttons beeam. 
essential as garments of both sexes were more or less fitted to th. body. 
Later, how.ver, during th. R.naissanc. Period, buttons w.r. classed among 
the luxuries of high-rank peopl. and were then made of gold, silver, ivory, 
and even of During th. r.ign of I, of England, button, 
turned out to be a most important British industry. Button, w.r. th.n, 
and ar. still, made of .vary imaginable material - bone, gla.., pap.r, 
fabri.s, and .v.n coins. It may be of interest to note her. that th. 
dis.overy of lovely .h.ll. in Iowa (Missi.pippi River) led to the intro- 
duction and manufacturing of beautiful pearl buttons (1890). In China, 
th. rank of a p.r.on wa. .hown by th. button, on hat.. 

Embroidery, as an art, is still widely practiced as trimming on C.min- 
in. clothes. It anteiat.d that of weaving, a. .kins of animal, that w.r. 
found in cave., were decorated with shell, and feathers,- in fact, it is 
said that the needle may bav. been in usage before the brush. Embroidered 
wrappings of Egyptian mummies were attractive and apparently done with car.. 

In Franc, and England, ladies of quality, practiced the art of needle- 
work as an agreeable pastime. During the Crusades, knights had 
h.raldi. devices embroidered by their wives. A. we read in th. history 




of Costumes, sometime in the fourteenth century, the coat of arms of the 
husband or of the father (of the unmarried women) were always embroidered 
on the full skirt a of that period. 

During the reign of Louis XIV (of Franc e7Se vent eenth Century), certaii 
rooms of his palaee were put aside for workers in the delicate art of need 
work. France and Ireland enjoy the reputation of having seen especially 
famous for embroidered lingeries, England for eyelet work, and Italy for 
its cut work, while Madeira embroidery cones from several countries,, 

As much as people in general love handwork, the machine has now re- 
placed this old-fashioned kind of labor. In some instances, in fact, it is 
almost impossible to tell at a glance that this special kind of emeroidery 
was machine-made, so perfect are the machines that manufacture it. 

Lace certainly takes the lead in the matter of beautiful trimmings. 
It has also been the most popular - at present, however, it is not used 
very much on gowns, and unfortunately real laee seems to have disappeared 
from the market. Like embroidery, it is very old and a form of lace was 
even found on the wrappings of Egyptian mummies. What we understand by 
lace, is a kind of openwork arranged in pattern or design with interwoven 
threads. The early Christians also made lace that was done with the use 
of the needle, this kind of decoration lasted through the Middle Ages. But 
it was really during the Renaiesance that lace became a real industry, al- 
though crocheting (looping in a pattern), even genuine needlepoint had 
developed in Italy as early as during the thirteenth century. 

There are numerous kinds of laee such as Valenciennes, Cluny, Duchesse 
Point d'Alenoon, etc.- the list is too long to mention here, but the best 
known were really the Valencienne, the Cluny, the Chantilly, the filet and 


HM| Jnioqtlko&ji oniunax rt»v© . fin* 

coq J-fi 

the Irish laces. We night hers mention the torehon whish resettles ths 
Cluny, though mush coarser, and it was uses extensively by the peasants 
of Suropean countries on thsir apron an* bodices. For a great many years 
berthas of real Duchesss or rosspoint were Tory stylish, and even recently 
■rides of old American families proudly trimmed thsir wsdding gowns with 
this (now) rare adornment. Not so long ago, Irish and filst laces were 
quite stylish on white voile blouses. Princess lace which is a kind of 
braid arranged in a pattern and united with needlework, was extremely stylish 
at ths bsginning of the twentieth century when even entire blouses were made 
of it. 

At present, what we mostly see are imitation laces manufactured in 
large Quantities. Machins-made lace first appeared in the latter part of 
the eighteenth century,and in 1813 a bobbinet machine was perfected. Some- 
times it is difficult to tell if ths lace is real or imitation. Real laee 
making is practically a lost ar$. Lace, of course, is used a great deal 
for curtains, doilies, etc., but at present (1954) lace trimming is really 
not a la mode. Chantilly and Valencienne (imitation) were used as recently 
as 1937 and 1943 on gowns. In fact, whole gowns of imitation silk thread 
Chantilly lace were in vogue in 1937 and 1948, dyed various colors. 

There used to be one kind of trimming that seems to have completely dis- 
appeared, and that was faggoting , it «as especially popular during the 
beginning of the twentieth century. First, it was entirely done by hand, 
then pretty soon one could buy it by the yard in department stores, it was 
so wsll done that very few people could tell the difference, except that 
handmade faggoting was more varisd. A few illustrations (handmade) -ay 
give the reader an idea of this uniqus and very attractive decoration. 

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What is generally called Peasant Costume fails te express in a 
definite way, the various and original costumes still warn in some 
European countries. 

Picturesque and quite eften beautiful, the National costume dis- 
clees and displays the life of the country it represents, symbolic 
decorations with National colors emphasize tho local influence. 

These original costumes, though cut on practically the same 
lines - wide skirt, full sleeves, apron, etc., differ vastly in the 
style of tho bodice, and of the headgear. The embroidery is al-e 
nearly always typical of varied inspirations caused by religious and 
traditional influences. 

However, our modern way of life may possibly be an important 
factor in the disappearance of these charming primitive drosses which 
are occasionally a source of inspiration for designers of current 
fashions. Among the most elaborate ones still worn on festive holi- 
days in France, are these of Brittany and Normandy. It appears as 
if the feminine population of the various provinces of France, ( rather 
conservative) love te eling te this mode of dressing which expresses 
their innate leve and respect for their traditions. 

It is difficult te establish definitely what period those unique 
modes were designed. Some are made of silk, wool, and velvet, with 
fine linen aprons and caps, trimmed with real lace. It is to be 
presumed that ideas and inspirations were exchanged from tho East te 

I [ 




the 'Vest, when commerce began te be such an important facter 
fer the various ceuntries ef Europe. 

A surprising fact te nete is that when almost every country 
ef Eurepe produced National costumes fer beth men and women, 
England remained with ne sign of an original attire which might 
be called "British costume". Yet, very few countries of the 
Continent can boast of so many traditions and with a reputation 
ef conservatism unequalled by ether nations. 




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